Feeling Fatigued…Exercise May Help

Do you feel like your energy levels are low?  Next time you feel like you could use a pick-me-up, don’t reach for the “energy drinks” or sugary snack.  While these items may give you a “quick fix”, they will often leave you feeling even more tired about an hour or two later.  Instead, reach for your sneakers and go for a walk.  A new study found that even as little as a 20-minute walk may be enough to increase energy levels throughout the day. 

It has long been believed that a sedentary lifestyle can cause feelings of fatigue, and now there is research to support that.  Thirty-six sedentary young adults with chronic feelings of fatigue participated in a 6 week study.  During the 6 weeks they were broken up into three groups: those who did not exercise or those who participated in either low-intensity exercise or moderate-intensity exercise for 3 days per week.  Both exercise groups had reported nearly a 20% increase in energy levels, and the low-intensity group experienced a 65% improvement in fatigue scores (fatigue scores were intensity-dependent).

So, next time you feel that you don’t have the energy to exercise, you may want to rethink that and recognize that you don’t have the energy to not exercise.

Puetz, T.W., et al (2008) A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effect of Aerobic Exercise Training on Feelings of Energy and Fatigue in Sedentary Young Adults with Persistent Fatigue. Psychother Psychosom 77:167-174